Battalions of sorrow for the flood-hit populace in Punjab

Published August 20, 2022
DERA GHAZI KHAN: People wade through floodwater in Rajanpur to reach relatively safe places. (Right) A displaced family looks for transport along the Indus Highway. — Dawn
DERA GHAZI KHAN: People wade through floodwater in Rajanpur to reach relatively safe places. (Right) A displaced family looks for transport along the Indus Highway. — Dawn

DERA GHAZI KHAN: Three flash floods in Sulaiman Range mountain drains in Rajanpur district, Dera Ghazi Khan and Taunsa Sharif tehsils in one month have proved fatal for more than 30 people and wiped off hundreds of homes.

The displaced families have been scrambling for survival in the region, especially at Kaha Sultan (Rajanpur), Vadoor (Dera Ghazi Khan tehsil), Sanghar and Wahowah (Taunsa Sharif tehsil).

In Dera Ghazi Khan tehsil, the third spell of rains and flood inundated areas of Mamoori and claimed 11 lives -- two women and eight children among them. Tibi Qaisrani, western and eastern Narri and other places have been hit by the flood and roof collapse incidents.

The wives of Din Muhammad, a resident of Kharrar Buzdar, and Yousaf, a residents of Fazla Kachh, were buried alive in roof collapse incidents. The minor daughters of Zafar and Faqeer were swept away by floodwater at Lalwani village of Taunsa Sharif.

Locals all praise for Rescue 1122 for alleviating public pain

In another incident, three children of Haji Yar were killed when the roof of their room caved in. Another person, Qasim, who resided at Shamtala, lost his life when the roof of a room crashed down. Faqeer Muhammad, a resident of Domarr, lost his three children in the roof collapse incident. Several small settlements have come under flood due to breach at Thatta-Laghari protection dykes; among them are Kallarwala, Retara, Jatwala, Tubi Qaisrani and Banbhan Dona.

Mohanwali was submerged by rainwater due to dyke collapse and officials reached there after five hours despite the fact that it is not far from the tehsil headquarters.

Residents of Taunsa Sharif said people were told to evacuate but the government lacked proper resources.

Meawhile, Punjab Finance Minister Mohsin Leghari during a visit to the flood-affected areas expressed hope that the floodwater would recede if there were no more rains. He said rehabilitation of at least half a million people and reconstruction of homes was a challenging task for the government. He said all resources would be made available for rehabilitation of the victims.

Officials of the Rescue 1122 have been providing round-the-clock support to the people in a difficult time. DG Dr Rizwan Naseer visited the flood-affected areas of Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur and inspected the rescue and relief operation, says spokesperson Farooq Ahmed. He said 805 boats were being used across Punjab -- 119 in DG Khan and Rajanpur.

On the instructions of Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, the Punjab government has increased financial assistance to Rs400,000 from Rs100,000 for each family which has lost a mud-house.

Dera Ghazi Khan Division Commissioner Muhammad Usman Anwar, along with Dr Naseer and PDMA DG Faisal Farid, visited the flood-affected areas. Saddar Assistant Commissioner Shakib Sarwar, DEO Dr Nayyar Alam and other officers accompanied them to some places including Basti Wadani, Loharwala and Mamoori.

The commissioner assured the people of all-out government support. He said the fourth spell of rains had been forecast from Aug 25 and asked the locals to timely move to relatively safe places.

Dr Naseer said he would extend all possible support to the administration in rescue and relief operation.

A press release quoted Provincial Disaster Management Authority Director General Faisal Farid as saying the PDMA will start damage survey in flood-hit areas as soon as water starts receding.

According to the flood forecasting division, all rivers and hill torrents in the country were flowing at normal condition, except River Indus at Kalabagh, Chashma and Taunsa, where it was in low and medium floods respectively. Nullah Palkhu near Wazirabad was also in medium flood and Chachar and Kaha hill torrents in Rajanpur area in low flood. The rest of the rivers, nullahas and hill trorrents were flowing at normal pace.

A few days ago, Deputy Commissioner Anwar Baryar provided compensatory amount to each deceased’s family. The chief minister ordered expeditious work on reconstruction and repair of roads in the affected areas. He directed the district administration to ensure vaccination of the flood victims at the medical camps to prevent an epidemic. Besides medicines, he said, dry ration should be distributed among the people.

RIVER FLOWS: Healthy flow continued in all rivers in the country, defeating all three averages: last year, five years and ten years. River Indus contributed 295,000 cusecs on Friday, Kabul had 79,300 cusecs, Jhelum 31,900 cusecs and Chenab 71,900 cusecs. Cumulatively, they produced 478,600 cusecs, which was 211,000 cusecs last year and last five years average is 340,400 cusecs and ten year average stands at 327,200 cusecs.

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2022

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